Tuesday, September 23, 2014

ON MY RADAR (9/23/14): Books that have hit my radar

Here are some books that have recently hit my radar and set off my alarm bells...

Biblical by Christopher Galt

A strange phenomenon is sweeping the globe. People are having visions, seeing angels, experiencing events that defy reality. Bizarre accounts pour in from distant places: a French teenager claims to have witnessed Joan of Arc being burned at the stake; a man in New York dies of malnutrition in a luxurious Central Park apartment; a fundamentalist Christian sect kidnaps and murders a geneticist. Then there is the graffiti WE ARE BECOMING that has popped up in every major city around the world, in every language. And everywhere people are starting to talk about John Astor, the mysterious author of the book that seems to be at the center of it all. After a rash of suicides around the world by individuals experiencing the time traveling hallucinations, psychiatrist John Macbeth and a team of FBI agents and scientists assemble to find out what s going on before it s too late. Is this a spiritual phenomenon or something more sinister?

Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett

EDGE OF ETERNITY is the sweeping, passionate conclusion to Ken Follett’s extraordinary historical epic, The Century Trilogy.

Throughout these books, Follett has followed the fortunes of five intertwined families – American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh – as they make their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution – and rock and roll.

East German teacher Rebecca Hoffman discovers she’s been spied on by the Stasi for years and commits an impulsive act that will affect her family for the rest of their lives.…George Jakes, the child of a mixed-race couple, bypasses a corporate law career to join Robert F. Kennedy’s Justice Department, and finds himself in the middle not only of the seminal events of the civil rights battle, but a much more personal battle of his own.…Cameron Dewar, the grandson of a senator, jumps at the chance to do some official and unofficial espionage for a cause he believes in, only to discover that the world is a much more dangerous place than he’d imagined.…Dimka Dvorkin, a young aide to Nikita Khrushchev, becomes a prime agent both for good and for ill as the United States and the Soviet Union race to the brink of nuclear war, while his twin sister, Tania, carves out a role that will take her from Moscow to Cuba to Prague to Warsaw – and into history.

As always with Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. With the hand of a master, he brings us into a world we thought we knew but now will never seem the same again.

Monday, September 22, 2014

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith


Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, this incandescent debut novel follows three generations of family—fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave, characters who yearn for redemption amidst a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love.

Drawn to the ocean, ten-year-old Tabitha wanders the marshes of her small coastal village and listens to her father’s stories about his pirate voyages and the mother she never knew. Since the loss of his wife Helen, John has remained land-bound for their daughter, but when Tab contracts yellow fever, he turns to the sea once more. Desperate to save his daughter, he takes her aboard a sloop bound for Bermuda, hoping the salt air will heal her.

Years before, Helen herself was raised by a widowed father. Asa, the devout owner of a small plantation, gives his daughter a young slave named Moll for her tenth birthday. Left largely on their own, Helen and Moll develop a close but uneasy companionship. Helen gradually takes over the running of the plantation as the girls grow up, but when she meets John, the pirate turned Continental soldier, she flouts convention and her father’s wishes by falling in love. Moll, meanwhile, is forced into marriage with a stranger. Her only solace is her son, Davy, whom she will protect with a passion that defies the bounds of slavery.

In this elegant, evocative, and haunting debut, Katy Simpson Smith captures the singular love between parent and child, the devastation of love lost, and the lonely paths we travel in the name of renewal.

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Harper
ISBN 0062335944 (ISBN13: 9780062335944)

About the Author

Katy Simpson Smith was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She attended Mount Holyoke College and received a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She has been working as an adjunct professor at Tulane University as an adjunct professor at Tulane University and is the author of We Have Raised All of Us: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835. She lives in New Orleans.

Check out the author's website
Check out this video about the book!

My Thoughts
On days in August when sea storms bite into the North Carolina coast, he drags a tick mattress into the hall and tells his daughter stories, true and false, about her mother.
This story begins with vibrant 10-year-old Tabitha who lives on the North Carolina coast with her father John. Her mother died in childbirth, so she never knew her, but she and her father have a good life together. Tabitha is a daughter of the sea, having been raised  with the stories her father has told of his days as a pirate. She dreams of traveling the seas herself, but her father keeps her safely ensconced on shore.

After Tabitha comes down with yellow fever, her grandfather Asa draws close to the only thing left of his own daughter and his family, having lost his own wife in childbirth as well.

This story leads to reminiscing and goes back into the past to show how we came to the present. We learn about John's deceased wife Helen, her life and how he won her heart.
He laughed at the pit of a plum.

"You kissed me with the fruit still in your mouth," she said. He had not remembered.

These were her treasures, the bits of life she collected to remind herself of life, the tokens of experience. Her story of land and sea.
We learn of the friendship that had developed between Helen and her slave Moll, who was "given" to her as a gift on her tenth birthday. We see the tragedy of Moll's life, and how every hope and dream she has exists in her eldest child Davy.

We witness a fresh start for John, and in the end of his life, Asa finds himself filled with regret for the things he has not done, and for his lack of kindness and consideration in his relationships.
Regret only exists once the opportunity for change is gone.

I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:

Monday, August 25th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Tuesday, August 26th: BookNAround
Wednesday, August 28th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, August 28th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, September 2nd: Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, September 3rd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, September 4th: Book Hooked Blog
Monday, September 8th: The Book Binder’s Daughter
Wednesday, September 10th: Passages to the Past
Thursday, September 11th Kritters Ramblings
Friday, September 12th: Consuming Culture
Saturday, September 13th: 100 Pages a Day … Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Wednesday, September 15th: 5 Minutes for Books
Tuesday, September 16th: BoundbyWords
Wednesday, September 17th: Spiced Latte Reads
Thursday, September 18th: West Metro Mommy
Monday, September 22nd: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Friday, September 26th: Silver’s Reviews

My final word: This is a well written story with well developed characters. It's a melancholy tale full of ghosts and haunting memories. Overall I liked it. The book is divided into three parts, and I found that the first part wound up being my least favorite. My fondness for the story grew as the story built, with Davy becoming probably my favorite character. In the end, I was left with the sea as the past and the land as the future-- and the future is full of hope and possibilities.

Buy Now:

Barnes and Noble

My Rating:


I received a copy of this book to review through the publisher and TLC Book Tours, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Introducing... The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith

Introducing books through the first chapter or so...

On days in August when sea storms bite into the North Carolina coast, he drags a tick mattress into the hall and tells his daughter stories, true and false, about her mother. The wooden shutters clatter, and Tabitha folds blankets around them to build a softness for the storm. He always tells of their courting days, of her mother's shyness. She looked like a straight tall pine from a distance; only when he got close could he see her trembling.

-- The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

ON MY RADAR (9/17/14 edition): Books that have hit my radar

Here are some books that have recently hit my radar and set off my alarm bells...

Perfidia by James Ellroy

The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor. The United States teeters on the edge of war. The roundup of allegedly treasonous Japanese Americans is about to begin. And in L.A., a Japanese family is found dead. Murder or ritual suicide? The investigation will draw four people into a totally Ellroy-ian tangle: a brilliant Japanese American forensic chemist; an unsatisfiably adventurous young woman; one police officer based in fact (William H. "Whiskey Bill" Parker, later to become the groundbreaking chief of the LAPD), the other the product of Ellroy's inimitable imagination (Dudley Smith, arch villain of The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, White Jazz). As their lives intertwine, we are given a story of war and of consuming romance, a searing exposé of the Japanese internment, and an astonishingly detailed homicide investigation. In Perfidia, Ellroy delves more deeply than ever before into his characters' intellectual and emotional lives. But it has the full-strength, unbridled story-telling audacity that has marked all the acclaimed work of the "Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction."

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples

Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire.

In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz adroitly challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the Indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize the territories of the original inhabitants, displacing or eliminating them. And as Dunbar-Ortiz reveals, this policy was praised in popular culture, through writers like James Fenimore Cooper and Walt Whitman, and in the highest offices of government and the military. Shockingly, as the genocidal policy reached its zenith under President Andrew Jackson, its ruthlessness was best articulated by US Army general Thomas S. Jesup, who, in 1836, wrote of the Seminoles: “The country can be rid of them only by exterminating them.”

Spanning more than four hundred years, this classic bottom-up peoples’ history radically reframes US history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative.

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Terribly unhappy in his family's crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude and danger of the mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew.

 Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

 Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

This is the twelfth expedition.

Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

QUICK REVIEW: Neverhome by Laird Hunt


An extraordinary novel about a wife who disguises herself as a man and goes off to fight in the Civil War.

She calls herself Ash, but that's not her real name. She is a farmer's faithful wife, but she has left her husband to don the uniform of a Union soldier in the Civil War. Neverhome tells the harrowing story of Ash Thompson during the battle for the South. Through bloodshed and hysteria and heartbreak, she becomes a hero, a folk legend, a madwoman and a traitor to the American cause.

Laird Hunt's dazzling new novel throws a light on the adventurous women who chose to fight instead of stay behind. It is also a mystery story: why did Ash leave and her husband stay? Why can she not return? What will she have to go through to make it back home?

In gorgeous prose, Hunt's rebellious young heroine fights her way through history, and back home to her husband, and finally into our hearts.

Hardcover, 256 pages
Expected publication: September 9th 2014 by Little, Brown and Company (first published September 1st 2014)
ISBN  0316370134 (ISBN13: 9780316370134)

About the Author

Laird Hunt is the award-winning author of a book of short stories, mock parables and histories, The Paris Stories (2000), originally from Smokeproof Press, though now re-released by Marick Press, and five novels from Coffee House Press: The Impossibly (2001), Indiana, Indiana (2003), The Exquisite (2006) Ray of the Star (2009) and Kind One (2012), which was a finalist for both the 2013 Pen/Faulkner award and the 2013 Pen USA Literary Award in Fiction and the winner of a 2013 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction. A new novel, Neverhome, will be published in the United States by Little, Brown and by Chatto in the UK. His translation of Oliver Rohe’s Vacant Lot was published by Counterpath Press, who also published his co-translation with Anne-Laure Tissut of Arno Bertina’s Brando, My Solitude. He is published in France by Actes Sud, and has novels either published or forthcoming in Japan, Italy, Spain, Germany and Turkey. His writings, reviews and translations have appeared in the United States and abroad in, among other places, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, Bomb, Bookforum, Grand Street, The Believer, Fence, Conjunctions, Brick, Mentor, Inculte, and Zoum Zoum. Currently on faculty in the University of Denver’s Creative Writing Program, where he edits the Denver Quarterly, he has had residencies at the MacDowell Colony and the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, and was in residence at Marfa (Lannan Foundation) this past summer. He and his wife, the poet Eleni Sikelianos, live in Boulder, Colorado, with their daughter, Eva Grace.

Check out the author's website
Follow the author on Twitter 

My Thoughts
I think we both of us knew from the start where the conversation was wending but we talked on it, took it every angle, sewed at it until the stitch stayed shut. I was to go and he was to stay.
During the heat of the Civil War, young Constance changes her name to Ash, and dressed as a man she leaves her husband Bartholomew and their home in Indiana to join the fight.

I'm a little conflicted with this book. On the one hand, it was a bit slow and meandering. I noted early on that the writing could be a bit boring at times.

However on the other hand it was an intriguing story line, with little bits of human observations that were spot on. I loved little things like the time she talks about when she was preparing to disguise herself as a man, she would put on pants at night and run until it felt natural. You see, women don't run or wear pants, and if she was going to portray herself as a man, running and wearing pants would have to be natural. Besides it was just plain fun, running with abandon and without self-consciousness!

Sometimes I would get the feeling that there was a deeper meaning to life hidden within the words...
The rain came down hard through the lilac bush. I don't know why I was sitting under it. There is shelter and then there is the idea of shelter. Shore up under the second all you want. You still get wet.
Unfortunately I found that this book was sort of like TV with me-- I found that I missed a lot. I would read mention of something later in the story that I didn't even remember happening to begin with.

My final word: This was a pretty good story, but it felt a bit disjointed and superficial. For a first person narrative, I felt surprisingly detached from Constance/Ash, and much of the story felt like flashes of images and small glimpses into the person that Constance truly is, preventing me from feeling as if I really knew her. And I was especially not fond of the ending of the book. But overall it was a pretty good story. It just fell short of my expectations is all, and I think it's a book that won't linger with me for the long haul.

Buy Now:

Barnes and Noble
Hachette Book Group

My Rating:


I received a copy of this book to review through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.

Monday, September 8, 2014

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: The Bully of Order by Brian Hart


Set in a logging town on the lawless Pacific coast of Washington State at the turn of the twentieth century, a spellbinding novel of fate and redemption—told with a muscular lyricism and filled with a cast of characters Shakespearean in scope—in which the lives of an ill-fated family are at the mercy of violent social and historical forces that tear them apart.

Keen to make his fortune, Jacob Ellstrom, armed with his medical kit and new wife, Nell, lands in The Harbor—a mud-filled, raucous coastal town teeming with rough trade pioneers, sawmill laborers, sailors, and prostitutes. But Jacob is not a doctor, and a botched delivery exposes his ruse, driving him onto the streets in a plunge toward alcoholism. Alone, Nell scrambles to keep herself and their young son, Duncan, safe in this dangerous world. When a tentative reunion between the couple—in the company of Duncan and Jacob’s malicious brother, Matius—results in tragedy, Jacob must flee town to elude being charged with murder.

Years later, the wild and reckless Duncan seems to be yet another of The Harbor’s hoodlums. His only salvation is his overwhelming love for Teresa Boyerton, the daughter of the town’s largest mill owner. But disaster will befall the lovers with heartbreaking consequences.

And across town, Bellhouse, a union boss and criminal rabble-rouser, sits at the helm of The Harbor’s seedy underbelly, perpetuating a cycle of greed and violence. His thug Tartan directs his pack of thieves, pimps, and murderers, and conceals an incendiary secret involving Duncan’s mother. As time passes, a string of calamitous events sends these characters hurtling towards each other in an epic collision that will shake the town to its core.

Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: September 2nd 2014 by Harper
ISBN 0062297740 (ISBN13: 9780062297747)

About the Author 

A native of Idaho, Brian Hart won the Keene Prize for Literature from the University of Texas at Austin and received an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers there. He is the author of the novel Then Came the Evening. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and young daughter.

Check out the author's website

My Thoughts
After the incident at the storehouse, Chief Manager Baranov called the men to the beachhead.
This story takes place on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Below is a picture of the Chehalis River from 1912, which is about  ten years after the climax of this story.
Chehalis River at Aberdeen, Washington, apparently looking northwards.(1912) Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website at http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/htmls/line2188.htm.

This book follows the lives of the Ellstrom family in a logging town on the rough and tumble Olympic Peninsula  in Washington State during the late 1800s (it starts around 1886 and runs until about 1902). Starting with "Doctor" Jacob Ellstrom and his wife Nell and their toddler Duncan, just before Jacob is exposed as a fraud. Once exposed, he abandons his family and things just go downhill from there.

The story later picks up when Duncan is older and has grown into a troubled young man, not having anyone to properly guide him, and he finds himself in quite a bit of trouble.

There are a lot of characters to keep track of, and I actually wound up being okay with that (sometimes I can find myself lost). The problem I had was the rambling though processes of most of the characters. I felt like I was dealing with a room full of ADD riddled characters, with their thoughts always straying this way and that. I felt like yelling, "Please, just focus!" It really made it hard for me to maintain my own focus at times.

The author is actually a very good writer, but as with Cormac McCarthy, I find his writing somewhat stilted and scattered, and it really took some getting used to. I wound up having a lot of respect for the author's talent, even while I found myself sometimes skimming over paragraphs of text that were too laborious for me to read.

I had to chuckle when I read about Bernice Travois, the town midwife, whose home was painted to the height of a man, because they didn’t have a ladder, as I heard the same story about my Mom’s childhood home. When we were visiting Michigan, she pointed out a home she had lived in as a kid and told me that once her Dad (my Grandpa) had told the boys to go out and paint the house. The boys all proceeded to paint the house as high as they could reach-- and no more was ever done!

The characters in the book would make very insightful statements that kept me going through the story, seeking out the next gem of wisdom.

Half the bones in your body are in your hands and feet. If nothing else, that should tell a person to stand and hang on.
Winter makes a person pick sides.
All the rooms of the world are the same once the door is shut.
If you're wondering about the origin of the title of the book, it was shared in the very beginning, via the journal of Timofei Osipovich Tarakanov of 1808:
I stopped what I was doing and asked what was so amusing and the old man surprised me and replied in English, what he called the Boston tongue, that I needed to beware of the bully of order… The old hunter carried forth in his own language and soon he’d referenced the sea and the land, hunter and prey, husband and wife, father and son, mother and child, even slave and master...
One thing I missed was a map of the area. I used to live in Washington, and looked out at the Olympic Mountains every day, but I had a hard time envisioning in my head the location. I wanted to see the Hoaquim and Chehalis and Hoh, although there is a very good description of the area right at the beginning, and the book's cover does have an old photo of the harbor.

I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:

Tuesday, September 2nd: M. Denise C.
Wednesday, September 3rd: missris
Thursday, September 4th: Reading Reality
Monday, September 8th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Thursday, September 18th: Mom in Love With Fiction
Friday, September 19th: Broken Teepee
Monday, September 22nd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, September 26th: Sun Mountain Reviews
Thursday, October 2nd: Jo-Jo Love to Read!
Tuesday, October 7th: Book Addiction
TBD: Book Loving Hippo

My final word: This is really a story about failure. Everyone fails everyone else, and themselves most of all. Some eventually realize their failures, and some just don’t care.This story is not for the faint of heart, as it is very crass and abrasive, and many will find the language and certain situations offensive, but it is also a fairly realistic portrayal of life in the newly settled northwest. The story is not sensitive and sentimental. It is gritty and unromantic and provocative. Interesting characters abound. The writing sometimes made me work a little harder than I like (I generally prefer literary fiction that is a rambling stroll through a flowery meadow rather than a taxing and arduous climb through mud and muck), but this story is well done. This author knows what he's doing, and he has crafted an interesting story with colorful characters to make all of the hard work worthwhile.

Buy Now:

Barnes and Noble

My Rating: B+


I received a copy of this book to review through the publisher and TLC Book Tours, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.

Friday, September 5, 2014

ARTICLE SHARING: 46 Brilliant Short Novels You Can Read In a Day

BuzzFeed has a list of 46 great short novels. Some you've probably read, and many I'm sure you haven't. From Animal Farm by George Orwell and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, to Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill and The Quiet American by Graham Greene.

Check it out!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Introducing... The Bully of Order by Brian Hart

Introducing books through the first chapter or so...

After the incident at the storehouse, Chief Manager Baranov called the men to the beachhead. The remaining Aleuts were shackled there, kneeling in the rain next to the corpses of those that had been killed trying to escape. Baranov stood over the captives and explained the importance of private and company property and the benefits of drawing a wage. A pointless exercise, being that only a few of those gathered understood our language, and yet they all knew they were no better than slaves, wage or not, we kept them here, away from their villages and their families. At the finish, Baranov pronounced the terms of the enforcement of law, what was owed for thievery, and pointed to the bodies sopped in blood and the survivors nodded that they understood, and because we needed them and because I'd already pled their case, they were pardoned.

-- The Bully of Order by Brian Hart

Monday, September 1, 2014

REVIEW: The Chia Cookbook: Inventive, Delicious Recipes Featuring Nature's Superfood by Janie Hoffman


Mamma Chia founder Janie Hoffman presents recipes for incorporating superfood chia seeds into flavorful smoothies, snacks, meals, and desserts.

The newest "nutritional 'it' item" according to the "New York Times," chia seeds are packed with eight times more healthful omega-3s than salmon, three times the antioxidants of blueberries, and 70 percent more protein than soybeans. As the founder of Mamma Chia juice company, Janie Hoffman has become the face of this new health trend, and her cookbook invites readers into her kitchen to learn the secrets of incorporating chia into healthy breakfasts, snacks, salads, dinners, and sweets. This mouthwatering collection that makes eating well an appetizing lifestyle choice with Chewy Chia and White Chocolate Granola Bars, Cayenne Chia Lemonade, Green Superfood Smoothies, Sundried Tomato Gluten-Free Chia Crackers, Ancient Grains Salad with Roasted Asparagus, Tart Cherry-Chia Cocktails, and more.

Paperback, 160 pages
Expected publication: September 30th 2014 by Ten Speed Press
ISBN  1607746646 (ISBN13: 9781607746645)

My Thoughts

As the book preface states, chia seeds are "...minuscule seeds in the mint family with an astonishing amount of omega-3s, protein, fiber, calcium, antioxidants-- and more-- packed within their tiny shells." This superfood packs a punch!
...gram for gram, the seeds have 70 percent more protein than soybeans, 25 percent more fiber than flaxseed, 600 percent more calcium than milk, 200 percent more potassium than a banana, and 30 percent more antioxidants than blueberries.
And they are chock full of heart-healthy omega-3s!

Chia seeds may be eaten different ways. They may be sprinkled on salads, sandwiches, or on any food. Bake them into baked goods, add them into smoothies. The author points out that chia may be used to add crunch to any meal or to make soup creamy. Chia is a whole food that takes on the flavor of whatever ingredients it's paired with.

However a popular way to use chia seeds is to make "chia gel" (made from whisking chia seeds with a liquid and letting it sit for about 20 minutes.) Chia gel may be used in salad dressings, to make pudding, or can be used in place of eggs in baking.
To replace one large egg, combine one tablespoon chia seeds with three tablespoons of room-temperature purified water. Whisk and let sit until the gel forms, about 20 minutes.

Note that chia adds water to a recipe, so if you're using the gel as an egg substitute in baking, your baked goods may turn out slightly moister than they would if you were using eggs. If you're aiming for a drier texture, simply add a few minutes to the baking time to allow the excess liquid to evaporate.
Or you may substitute one of four eggs in a dish like an egg frittata.

I tried making the Sticky Brown Rice with Sunny-Side-Up Egg, but I didn't really care for it. It has a very strong onion and soy sauce flavor that I wasn't fond up with the fried egg. However there are a number of other recipes I am eager to try soon.

My final word: The pictures were beautiful. The concept was great (I want to learn how to incorporate chia into my regular diet). However I just had a hard time with many of the recipes. Many didn't appeal to me, or they had ingredients like Amaranth and pistachio oil that are harder to come by. And I was disappointed that there wasn't a recipe for chia pudding, since that was one thing I have heard that chia is great for, and I looked forward to finding a great recipe for it in this cookbook. But that being said, this is a fine primer for someone looking to learn more about chia and the uses of it.

Buy Now:

On sale September 30th.

My Rating:



I received a copy of this book to review through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.